INTRIGUING JACK OF MANY TRADES
Ray Hanson doesn’t retire well. The firefighter tried in 2009, but he soon was busy again.
Fortunately, he had 650 Cabernet Sauvignon vines growing in his acre lot in Coombsville that had been sold to Caymus Vineyards, so he started making about 3,500 bottles of wine under the Destiny Family brand.He also started offering wine tours, buying a limousine and both driving and hiring a driver, often retired or off-duty police officers. Operating as Destiny Wine Tours, he gets business mostly by word of mouth from previous customers, some of the best customers for Destiny wine, too. Otherwise it’s only sold online.
He became the private driver for Michael and Isabel Mondavi yet found time to build a wine cellar containing an old tasting bar from Robert Mondavi Winery and a 100-year-old fire pole, plus 12,600 pennies he and his daughter embedded in a resin floor.
Hanson’s most inspired venture, however, is an homage to both him and his father, a former fire captain in Oakland: He bought a 1929 La France fire truck in Shelbyville, Indiana, brought it back and converted it into a wine and beer wagon. He added refrigeration and four taps and now offers drinks at parties, weddings and company events. He even scored the license plate “Eng 29”.
Hanson is now building out a 28-ft. trailer and has a new Land Rover for tours. He’s not likely to retire again any time soon.